Planning to travel this summer? If so, don't let a few days of lounging mean the end of your fitness goals. While it's definitely more challenging to stay on track while on the road, lounging on the beach, or visiting places that pit you against temptations you don't usually face, it's not impossible.
Here to reveal some of her absolute best on-the-go fitness tips and advice is fitness model and Cellucor athlete Jen Jewell, who finds herself on the road more than half the time and yet manages to never skip a beat. While Jewell is quick to note that she may not use all of these techniques if traveling for a relaxing holiday, she tries to stand by them when traveling for business or when she wants to keep her fitness plan intact.
Grab Jewell's top six travel tips and try her killer on-the-go workouts!1
Actively Take In the Sights
"While I'm fortunate to be one of those lucky people who simply loves being active, I understand the struggle others face," Jewell says. "For those who need a little motivational push, consider skipping the cab and walking to the highlights of the city you're visiting." After all, exploring on foot can be one of the most exciting parts of visiting a new place!
"I've power walked and jogged around the streets of Sydney, Cape Town, Athens, Austin, Phoenix, and Copenhagen, to name just a few," Jewell says. While you should make sure the area you're exploring is safe, don't be afraid to make the outdoors your playground.
Jewell likes to combine her planned on-the-go workouts with this "active tourism" mentality. By doing so, she's able to get in her cardio of choice—which happens to be walking or running—while enjoying her vacay. To change things up, Jewell's also been known to find a park and bust out a bodyweight-and-plyometric circuit workout.2
Ditch Your All-Or-Nothing Mentality
"You need to understand that when you travel, your schedule is going to get messed up," Jewell says. "You'll be out of your element and your routine, but don't let this get the best of you."
Instead of following an all-or-nothing mentality, Jewell recommends making use of any equipment you have available. Training with implements you're not used to will shock your body and mix things up. You may not find a squat rack in your hotel gym, for instance, but that doesn't mean you have to write off leg day.
"I use different techniques such as high-volume workouts, bodyweight exercises, and supersets to make sure my body is challenged when traveling, and I deal with the circumstances I'm given," Jewell says.
When it comes to seeing results in fitness, it's important to adopt a no-excuses outlook, but that doesn't mean all or nothing. You can get in a great workout anywhere with a little creativity and energy.3
When traveling for business, you may have a long list of things you need to attend to. This doesn't mean your workouts need to fall by the wayside. "One thing that's really helped me is just making sure I get up 20-30 minutes before any planned event and get my workout in first thing," Jewell says.
The longer you put off your workout, the less likely you'll be to find the time to fit it into a jam-packed schedule. "When you're on the road, you never know what else will pop up throughout the day," Jewell adds.
She explains that, while her travel workouts may not be as long as what she'd do back at home, she makes a conscious effort to do some activity each day. If she has more time, great, but she doesn't stress about it.4
Keep Your Diet as Consistent as Possible
In addition to planning out some workouts, you also need to be mindful of your nutrition. It's one area where consistency is key. "Whenever you're able to, keep your meals as close to normal as you can," advises Jewell. "Find a grilled protein, vegetables, and some sort of starch at a local store or on a restaurant menu. Order that every time."
Of course, you don't have to skip restaurant meals; fitness should be fun, not torture! "Just look for grilled protein options and request grilled or steamed vegetables on the side," Jewell recommends. "Don't forget about the condiments, either. Remember to ask for the dressing or sauce on the side, or risk your food being smothered in it."
When temptations arise, Jewell suggests asking yourself what you would normally be eating at home and going for that instead. "Sure, certain items look good, but always remember that staying close to your normal food intake will help keep everything on track, especially when you're limited on workout time," she says.
But eating out wisely doesn't mean counting macros around the clock. As Jewell notes, you should still allow for some indulgence. "If you're traveling to a place that's known for a certain type of cuisine or specialty, make sure you do try some of their top dishes," she says. "The trick is to enjoy it all in moderation."
If you're on vacation and really don't want to pass up a certain food, just make sure you have a taste, not a buffet.
Do Your Research Before You Go
To make things easier on yourself, spend a bit of time finding a hotel that will best accommodate your needs. When you're out of your normal routine, having amenities close by will help you stay on track.
"When I book a room, I always spend a few extra minutes scoping out hotels in the area to see if they have a hotel gym or a gym nearby," says Jewell.
Remember that while you might not find all of the state-of-the-art equipment you're used to, you don't need every machine and free weight to make an impact. "Even a small hotel gym with a few dumbbells and a cardio machine will help me stay on track better than if I have nothing," Jewell adds.
Taking along a few items from home also helps. Jewell packs a jump rope and an exercise band or two of varying resistance levels. "They're compact, lightweight, and can be great for a quick hotel-room workout," she says.
Along with finding a hotel with a gym, also check for one with a fridge, or better yet, a kitchenette. "Always ask whether the room comes with a fridge; if not, check to see if one is available," Jewell says. "If a fridge isn't included, the hotel will often provide one for a small fee."
In the end, the extra fee you pay for the fridge will actually help you save on food costs, since you won't be eating out as often. "With plenty of premade, healthy, ready-to-go dishes available at local health food stores, you'll easily find options to help you maintain your diet plan," she adds.6
Pack Food in Your Carry-On
While it's easier than ever to find nutritious food in most cities, you need to be careful on your actual days of travel. "When you're flying the friendly skies, there's not a ton that's in your control," Jewell says. "Be prepared, because you never know when you'll be stuck on a plane longer than anticipated, have a delay, or a miss a flight entirely."
Jewell likes traveling with a protein shaker and a few servings of protein along with a piece of fruit, a salad, and a packet or two of tuna. You won't even need a cooler since they're all very transportable items. Protein bars are another great choice.
"Also consider bringing some oats and adding them to hot water to cook, stirring in a scoop of protein. You can easily do this at the coffee shop for a quick meal in the airport," Jewell advises.
Your Fitness-Model Workout Plan
Ready to take to the skies? Kick off your on-the-go workout schedule with two of Jewell's favorite go-to sessions!